Cycleway connection project signed off

Construction of a section of cycleway connecting Dunedin's west harbour track with the city should be completed by the end of the year.

Dunedin city councillors signed off on the $450,000 project this week, allowing final land negotiations to be completed.

Councillors recently asked council staff for a report on options for linking the complete cycleway from St Leonards to the completed cycleway at Fryatt St via the State Highway 88 bridge over the Water of Leith.

The request followed concerns about the efficiency of the proposed route over the bridge, which requires pedestrians and cyclists to complete several sharp turning manoeuvres.

However, after a site visit and a preliminary estimate that attaching an alternate bridge-crossing alongside the railway overbridge instead would cost at least $500,000, councillors decided to keep to the plan.

The plan was part of the agreement reached with the New Zealand Transport Agency during the construction of the realignment of SH88.

It includes the pathway going over the bridge, along a section of the rail corridor, which will be leased by the council, and through a section of Port Otago's (on the Z Energy site), which will be bought by the council, linking through to Wickliffe St, from where people can connect to the Fryatt St cycleway.

The route will also provide added pedestrian access to the stadium for people wishing to park in the Wickliffe St area during events.

About $450,000 was carried forward to the 2013-14 financial year for the work.

The infrastructure services committee agreed to approve construction of the section, under whichnew paths and lighting should be in place by the end of the year.

Council programme engineer transportation operations Michael Harrison said the land deals were ready to be signed off, and had just been awaiting council approval of the plan.

Cr Kate Wilson said it was disappointing the Otago Regional Council, which owns Port Otago, and therefore the land the city council had to buy, had not seen fit to be a joint partner in the project rather than approach it as a commercial arrangement, as the walkway would allow all ratepayers better access to the harbour.

A report to the committee noted a possible new bridge over the Water of Leith and the extension of the route to St Andrew St were not precluded by the plan.

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